Flooding In Serbia

Sandbags line the banks of the Sava River in New Belgrade

Serbia experienced 4-5 days of heavy, steady rains this week, which caused major flooding of the Sava River. Several small cities along the river, including nearby Obrenovac, were completely flooded by over a meter of water. Several people died and thousands were evacuated. The damage must be enormous, and much livestock died. Flooding also occurred in in Bosnia, even more so than in Serbia. This is the worst flooding in the Balkans in recorded history.

Our good friends from Obrenovac were rescued by our head of security, and he told me a harrowing tale of getting through 1.20 meter deep water at night. The area was sealed off by authorities and people are being evacuated by boats now.

Owen inspects the sandbags for the expected river surge

I help organized a flood relief donations drive at our school. I was Administrator-in-Charge and earlier in the week I was dealing with possible closing of school Due to the heavy rains, all Serbian public schools closed by order of the government. We stayed open because almost all of our students live in areas that were away from the flooding and all take private transport. It felt good to help the people of nearby Obrenovac that needed to evacuate. They must be devastated to have that much water go into their homes. It will take a lot of cleaning, and drying out of things. 

Laying the base for the wall – Sava River May 18, 2014

The past couple of days I took the boys biking along the Sava. In Belgrade the water was high but not flooding. Today city officials were expecting a surge coming from down river as the flood waters recede and go back through to the river. Hundreds of volunteers were filling sandbags and lining them along the river to protect the areas adjacent to the river. I hope their work is sufficient to hold back the water. There are many homes and businesses near the river, and many of the famous splavs and restaurants on the river are flooded and may sustain some damages. As you can see by the pictures and video in this post, it was an anxious ride for Owen and I today. It was heartening to see the many good people helping out strangers and working together to protect areas from the flood.

Volunteers fill sandbags and deliver them to the banks of the Sava River

We have been watching the RTS and B 92 news. I’ll try to keep updated with the progress of the flood and recovery efforts. A lot of work will have to be done with cleaning, repairing, and purchasing of new carpet, appliances, etc. for the people of Obrenovac and other cities. I hope our family can lend a hand in the next few weeks before we leave Serbia.


The brown, swollen, Sava River – May 18, 2014


Another Bridge Over the Sava River

Earlier this month, Owen and I were riding our bikes to Ada Ciganlija Island. Along the bike path, we stopped and watched the huge cranes as they were building the support for the new bridge. This is a much needed project, as there are not enough bridges in the city. The Sava River is a tributary of the Danube, and both rivers divide Belgrade. On our side is the older part,and the other side has New Belgrade. We cross the bridge to go grocery shopping, etc. Last night, we went to the Enrique Iglesias concert at the Belgrade Arena which is also in New Belgrade.

The bridge closest to our house, the Gazelle Bridge, is the main freeway through Belgrade. It is constantly full of traffic and this new bridge will relieve this.

I was a bit worried that the bridge would ruin the atmosphere of Ada, my favorite spot in Belgrade. I don’t think it will as you can see below, it just touches the tip of the island. There are private rowing clubs on that side and I never go there.

A Model of What the Bridge Will Eventually Look Like
A Model of What the Bridge Will Eventually Look Like

I wonder if “Sava Bridge” will be the name of it. The official web site calls it Sava Bridge Project.